M*A*S*H and Single Responsibility

If you haven’t heard of the TV show M*A*S*H, it’s based on an equally excellent movie by the same name. It has exactly nothing to do with coding, software development, business, or anything else you might think is germane to this blog. Except that I watch a lot of it (may have even gotten a Hulu subscription JUST to take advantage of their recent acquisition of the show). Like most art you consume a boatload of it will eventually worm its way into the rest of your life.

Most recently, I had to use a Charles Winchester quote to remind myself of the Single Responsibility Principle.

“I do one thing at a time. I do it very well. And then I move on.”

— Major Charles Emerson Winchester, III

You see where this is going, right?

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It’s Not the Code

I saw an article recently from Code Like a Girl with a headline “Don’t Teach Your Kids to Be Coders.” It’s an excellent piece, and like most people smarter than me Dr. Johnson managed to put words to a feeling that had bothered me in all my classes at CSCC–the code is a tool, not a result.

I pick up skills very well. I’ve been praised (as an adult even) as a quick study. If I can identify a benefit to knowing how to do a thing, especially an immediate benefit, I will learn to do the thing. Most importantly, do it well enough to count. The jobs I’ve excelled at have had simply-defined goals–that type of goals allows me to determine the tasks necessary, and then start practicing the skills.

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Stripped Bolts

A few months ago at work, a charge was put out: “Let your coworkers know what you’re working on! Share your successes, make it clear to anyone on the team how your work is going.”

Well, our tiny development team already knew all that. It was the other 8, client-facing people who didn’t have a clue about whether I was having a good week or a bad week–about 90% of my job is the kind that doesn’t get noticed if it works correctly.

So I was inspired to share something of a “stripped bolt” story one week (which went over like a lead-balloon, but nothing-ventured-nothing-gained). I always felt that story fit a longer form than a Yammer post, so here we all are.

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Code Elevator

I worked for the logistics arm of a very large fashion company based here in Columbus for a few years, and one of the things I really liked about the culture there was how wrapped up in the mood elevator they were.

What I like about the Mood Elevator (and similar tools) is that when used properly, it provides a common language which leads to a better level of clarity about a situation. You can say things like “I’m struggling to keep the mood elevator at curious right now” and (while maybe a little corny) everyone will know you’re not in agreement with whatever is going on, but still open to being sold. Shorthand is an amazing thing sometimes.

 

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